Saturday, November 10, 2012

UAlbany faces challenge vs. No. 4 Ohio State

Jeff Couch/The Record
ALBANYTanner Gibson remembers watching games at Value City Arena, while he was growing up.

The Zanesville, Ohio native vividly recalls watching Michael Redd and Ohio State play in the late 1990’s.

Gibson and the rest of the University at Albany men’s basketball team head into meet the No. 4 Buckeyes, this afternoon, at 2 p.m. The game can be seen on the BIG TEN network online and will be rebroadcast on Monday evening on television.

“It’s definitely exciting to go back and see the family,” said the sophomore guard. “Ohio State is always a great atmosphere.”

Unfortunately Gibson, who has been dealing with a foot injury, won’t be suited up for the Great Danes (1-0). He expects some friends and family to make the 50-minute drive and Gibson intends on passing out some Purple & Gold to mix in amongst all the Scarlet & Gray in the 18-809 seat arena.

Ohio State will be making its season debut, after Friday’s game against Marquette, on the USS Yorktown, was canceled.

This is part of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off Tournament. UAlbany continues on to play Washington, on Tuesday and next weekend plays two games at Mohegan Sun, in Connecticut.

“Any time you’re program is affiliated with the Basketball Hall of Fame, it’s special,” said Great Danes coach Will Brown.

Growing up in Indiana and having lots of family from Michigan, senior Blake Metcalf was never a big fan of Ohio State. Metcalf is looking forward to this game because he will have friends and family in attendance, from his hometown, Camby, Ind. 

“It’ll be real nice to get back to the Midwest and a lot of my friends and family can come to the game, so it does mean a lot to me,” he said.

Metcalf played AAU basketball growing up, with dominant Buckeyes big man Deshaun Thomas.  Thomas is one of the main reasons Ohio State is ranked so highly. The junior was one of six players named to the Associated Press preseason All-American team. Fellow junior Aaron Craft received votes for All-American consideration. 

This is the first meeting between these two schools, but the Buckeyes are 4-1 all-time against teams from the America East, losing once to Vermont.

Ohio State coach Thad Matta has never lost in 12 season-openers, in his head coaching career.    

UAlbany hasn’t been 2-0 to start the season since the 2006-07 season, when they last went to the NCAA tournament. This is the highest ranked opponent the Great Danes have faced since the 2006 NCAA tournament, when they met No. 2 Connecticut.

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